we live in our minds

PTSD AND HOW YOU CAN HELP what are triggers

why is having PTSD like walking through the worst thunder storm ever with a metal rod in your hand? triggers are like being struck by lighting and not even knowing that particular bolt hit you. They can strike at any time and for any reason. More like having another version of yourself constantly walking behind you ready to hit you over the head at any time.

fear of a storm


for most of the time having PTSD is like standing on the shore and watching the lighting miss you. You know that it will strike again at some time. However an episode of triggered PTSD is just like walking right underneath the storm with a long metal rod in your hand wondering which bolt of lighting will get you and why. What will it do to me this time? How will I deal with what it does in my head. Knowing you are a different person for the duration of that particular episode. Although there are ways of dealing with these triggers when they happen it can be very draining for the sufferer and those around them.


PTSD can bring outbursts of anger and rage that usually start with a trigger. This can be a tricky situation with CPTSD. Working out the triggers for PTSD takes time and they are difficult to avoid completely . But it’s easier when there is one causal event . With CPTSD the triggers are different for each trauma and obviously more of them. Therefore with CPTSD it can be pretty much impossible to avoid the triggers. You can end up running around putting out the fires caused by triggering.


signs of triggering are good to know. Not just for the person with the condition but for those living with them. Hypervigilance is the first thing . They are having difficulty sleeping or sitting still. Irritability and not just the odd bad day, it is likely to be for fairly long periods of time.

Quite often they suffer brain fog and a lack of focus. For them it literally feels like they are walking in fog. The brain is wandering and not sure what to settle on, “butterfly brain” This particular symptom is frustrating for those around the patient. Give them two things to remember and they will forget the second. It really is easier to put a post it note on the fridge! As frustrating as it is , try and remember how it makes our people pleasing PTSD brain feel. Your disapproval, frustration and lack of pleasure will fuel the guilt and low self image in the PTSD brain.

storms tend to trigger

PTSD AND HOW YOU CAN HELP what are triggers

of course the loves ones of our PTSD/CPTSD sufferer are just as important and there are certain coping mechanisms that can be used for you too when you feel the frustration building for your triggered , walking fog patch. Try “time out ” stratergies just for you. Talk it out with a trusted , empathic friend .A night out with friends or a hobby that takes you out of the house for a few hours. Make sure you have a distraction. This also gives your partner time to rest, sleep or do something of their own. Another way of dealing with frustration or anger is pillow punching. Get a pillow and punch it until you have channeled any rage you may need to work through.




Another of the other physical symptoms of Hypervigilance is shallow and fast breathing. You can practice deeper breathing . This prevents hyperventilating and physically slows the brain down . It certainly stops that horrible feeling of thoughts rolling around in the head, bumping into each other. However not knowing where to put them or how to process them. The more thoughts there are rolling around the more overwhelmed the brain becomes.

Learning not to bottle emotions up and learning to cry instead of shout is helpful. Crying is a less stressful way of letting your feelings air. Shouting tends to encourage outbursts of rage. Art and drama are good for channeling emotion. If you are good at drawing then draw how you are feeling.

Writing a journal everyday and/or dream journal where you write down your feelings and record your dreams. So you can be mindful of your emotions and how they can change during the day. Is there a pattern to when they change ? This is a very effective way of identifying some triggers.


Flashbacks can seem very frightening to those experiencing them. They are like reliving the causal events. it is a very real sensation. The same sensations both physical and emotional take over, the brain replays event like a video and you are leading role. The flight or fight response kicks in and depending on the causal event can be dangerous , causing violent outbursts.

Physical sensations can be heightened and pain felt more easily . Painful joints and even flu like symptoms have been reported from those having CPTSD/ PTSD episodes. Stomach complaints also are common in cases of many anxiety disorders and mental health conditions.

There is so much to learn of this condition and there will be so much more to learn when a great percentage of the NHS are suffering from it following the pandemic